I Need Help with Healthy Meal Ideas.

Updated on June 03, 2007
D.H. asks from Wickliffe, OH
12 answers

I just found out that my 5 year old son's cholesterol is a bit high. I need to get more ideas on healthy snacks and meals. He has a mild milk allergy,so dairy is very limited. My whole family could use a change in diet. My son is also overweight and I want to help him overcome this before he gets any older.He is very active,he just likes to snack alot. I know I need to cut out the simple carbs and desserts,but I need some ideas!

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So What Happened?

Thank you so much for all the great ideas! My family is adjusting well. It is so much easier not to have all the junk food in the house. We use smaller plates,and I make sure we eat at the table. My son is getting used to not having so many "crackery" snacks. That is the name he came up with! He loves eating fruits and veggies and snack time is not such a battle anymore. I keep the fridge well stocked,so he can just grab something healthy. We are all feeling so much better! Thanks again!

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answers from Toledo on

The idea like other moms suggested is to keep the healthy snacks readily available. Now that summer is close there are lots of different types of fruit at decent prices to try. My son is seven and would eat a bag of tomatoes before he would eat a bag of candy and he has always been that way. The fact that you are concerned and willing to do something about it is great.

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answers from Dayton on

I recently read an article (I think it was in the Dayton Daily News) that said that if you want to eat healthier, shop around the outside of the grocery store and avoid the middle where all of the pre-prepared foods and snacks are that are high in fat, carbs, and preservatives. That seems to help me when I'm trying to plan healthy meals for the week. Here is what my 3 year old usually eats:
Breakfast - cereal or plain oatmeal with fresh fruit added or a whole wheat frozen waffle with a little cream cheese on it or peanut butter and scrambled eggs and orange juice.
Lunch - egg salad or chicken salad (cut up eggs or leftover cooked chicken and mixed with a little light mayo and salt and pepper) on whole wheat, or peanut or almond butter with low sugar jelly (we really like almond butter, its more expensive but it tastes better and is supposed to be better for you). We eat it with fruit and a fresh veggie, usually cucumbers or carrots dipped in a little dressing. Sometimes we make burritos with whole wheat shells and toss in whatever we have in the fridge - black beans, chicken, beef or tofu and lettuce, tomatoes, avocados or corn and cheese, sour cream, or whatever else we have.
Dinner - I'm sorry to say we eat out probably more than we should, but when we are home its usually fish or meat with pasta or a potato or rice and salad or a cooked veggie.
Dessert/snacks - fruit topped with lowfat whipped cream, granola bars, dried fruit, soy ice cream(it actually tastes really good and has protein and fiber and only about 1/3 of the fat and sugar of regular ice cream - this might work well for your son since he has a milk allergy), yogurt, low fat string cheese or cottage cheese, pretzels, graham crackers, apple chips, or jello.

I hope you get a lot of responses, I am looking for new ideas too. Hope this helps, good luck! :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

There is some great advice on here already. I think something very valuable to consider is splitting up meals for you and your family. To increase you metabolism, you need to eat 5-6 small meals a day. Something like every 2 hours you should eat so that your body does not go into starvation mode and hold on to all the calories, fats, etc. This is pretty simple to do.

Breakfast-a few egg whites -you can include one whole egg, whole wheat (not enriched) toast, fruit if you want,milk or juice and it is important to nurish your body with your water intake. Try for 2 cups of water with each meal.

snack-piece of fruit, or yogurt (LF), or cottage cheese (LF), 2 cups of water

lunch-tuna or ckn, water packed can, mixed with mayo and bits of apples and celery, fruit, some milk based product (Lf), and 2 cups of water. You also can add some pasta to this meal, whole wheat.

snack-fruit parfait-fresh fruit, whipped cream, or jello or lf pudding-no sugar added variety of snacks are best and tasty. 2 cup water

dinner-fish, ckn, turkey, buffalo are all really lean and add you small bit of whole wheat pasta, green veggies, whole wheat pasta, milk (if you don't have your 3 servings) and 2 cups of water.

snack-low fat pudding pops or make your own popsickles with fruit juice, pureed fruit. 2 cups of water.

This is just a general idea based on what my family eats. I do not drink coffee so I did not incorporate that. You can have coffee, just don't load with sugar. The main idea is to up protein intake with clean foods. Limit processed sugars, up water intake to flush out the body and get the general requirements. I do a lot of water, as I am a body builder too, but I do crystal light or wylers light drink mixes that make 2 qts. I drink that easily and I get my gallon of water in easily with only 5 calories per serving. I would rather do that with the calories than suck down soda. If you are soda drinkers, make sure it is diet and limit your intake. This may take some time, but your body will love you for it when you are limiting it. (If you are cereal eaters try kashi cereals. My three year old has never been given sweet cereal and he won't even eat it if offered. He actually eats Honey bunches of oats. My 13 year old has been on my program of eating for a long while and he is very healthy and does't even eat all the candy he gets at Easter-usually gives most of it away.) This is a lifestyle change and that can be incredibly hard.

If you are looking to add exercise to your program, all the fellow body builders agree that 20-30 min is all you need. It is good to add some weights even if you are just trying to be healthy. I am not trying to get you to be body builders and my entire family are not, but they are healthy. Main key is to eat more protein, but not in one sitting,drink more water, and definately get moving in some activity-hiking, biking whatever.

Oh, My family made it a contest at first to see who could get their water intake done first. That helped with the intial water goals.
Good luck!



answers from Youngstown on

for your sons health, you need to stop buying unhealthy snacks. there are snacks available that he will love that arent going to take years off of his life. you dont even have to make a deal of it or tell him. just replace the junk with things that are better for your whole family. there are yummy flavored rice cakes flavored like caramel or ranch or butter, etc...my 2 year old LOVES them. when she is waching a movie i chop a rice cake up and put it into a bowl and she likes it as much as popcorn! and with warmer weather now we cook out on the grill every day and make things like chicken and veggie kabobs. my daughter thinks its the neatest thing and eats a ton of it. let your son help you in the kitchen so he will want to sample the new healthy creations. plus, there are always ways to make the foods that you love without adding yucky fats and salts. oh, and get all the pop, sugary cereal and sugary fruit drinks out of the house and also frozen dinners. they are a killer. i know it must be so hard for you to see your son in an unhealthy condition at such a young age. i have a niece who is 5 and weighs almost 80 pounds. i hope you are able to find a healthy plan that works for your family.



answers from Toledo on

One thing I would do is always have healthy choices on hand.
-cut up veges with dip
-raisins, bananas
fruit rollups
even chips and salsa is better then cookies :)
once he gets away from the sweets he'll stop craving them
for something special make fruit smoothies and for this summer get all fruit pops or make them..

I hope that helps a little



answers from Columbus on

I joined South Beach on Line a couple years ago and it was great. It really helped me re-look at what I thought was healthy. I liked the on-line version of the diet because you had support groups there and access to a Dr. you could ask questions. I know it also has clear “adjustments” for kids – like, kids are not to do phase 1 and there are extra calcium allowances given etc. It was outlined very well for kids. There is also access to tons for recipes that are on the diet and a discussion board where people swap recipes all the time. Also, this diet focuses on changing your eating habits for life. My aunt has had heart surgery and this is the diet her cardiologist recommends, it is also the diet my OB recommended while I was “trying” to conceive. So it is safe and healthy.



answers from Cleveland on

The Pampered Chef ®
Hi there D.-
I am a Pampered Chef Consultant and deal with recipes alot. I hope that you find this one useful. I had it at a meeting the other day and it is delicious... there are so many variations that you can do with this, like adding your favorite veggies or changing the meat... such as Shrimp or tuna. Also you can choose you favorite dressing, however the Italian pesto was awesome with this. Also a creamy Garlic sounds great. this is something that a 5 year old would think is cool, becuase it is a layered salad... pasta on the bottom, lettuce , veggies and then your meat if you wanted. Please give it a try and let me know if you like it. I did. I know that it calls for Pampered Chef items to make it, but you can do with your own tools at home, but uf you need something, please let me know. anyway, please enjoy!!

Colossal Chopped Salad

1 package (16 ounces) uncooked penne pasta
1 head romaine lettuce, thinly sliced
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1/2 cup sliced red onion
1 yellow summer squash or zucchini
2 plum tomatoes
1 large carrot, peeled
1 can (3.25 ounces) pitted ripe olives, drained
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 cup Italian or ranch salad dressing

Cook pasta according to package directions in (8-qt.) Stockpot; drain and rinse under cold running water using large Colander. Spoon pasta onto Simple Additions® Large Round Bowl.

Meanwhile, thinly slice lettuce and dice chicken using Chef’s Knife. Slice red onion using Ultimate Mandoline fitted with v-shaped blade. Slice yellow squash with Ultimate Mandoline fitted with crinkle blade; cut slices in half using Santoku Knife. Slice tomatoes using Tomato Knife; cut slices in half. Cut carrot into julienne strips using Julienne Peeler; cut strips into 1-inch pieces using Paring Knife. Slice olives using Egg Slicer Plus®.

Top pasta with lettuce, chicken, onion, yellow squash, tomatoes, carrot and olives. Grate Parmesan cheese over vegetables using Ultimate Mandoline fitted with grating blade.

Drizzle dressing over salad; toss using Bamboo Spatulas just before serving.

Yield: 16 servings

Nutrients per serving: Calories 230, Total Fat 10 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 15 mg, Carbohydrate 25 g, Protein 11 g, Sodium 230 mg, Fiber 2 g

Cook's Tip: If desired, one of the four delicious salad dressing recipes printed on the side of the Measure, Mix & Pour™ can be substituted for the bottled salad dressing



answers from Cincinnati on

With my 4 year old, he LOVES his fruits and veggies. I simply make sure he gets a fruit with breakfast and lunch, and a veggie with lunch and dinner. I let him pick them out sometimes. We pack snacks in a bag before we leave home if I know we are going to be gone most the day. This avoids the stop at the fast food restraint. He is also a big eater, he eats more than me every day just about. He knows that he is not allowed to drink pop, and he tells EVERYONE this. If he gets juice its only once a day, and it's 100% juice...so another fruit in his diet.
His basic meals are all perfect though:
Breakfast: Milk, bowel of fruit (his choice), and 4 donut holes or cereal. Sometimes he gets waffles or pancakes with strawberries on top.
Lunch: ALWAYS peanutbutter and jelly on whole wheat bread(4 out of 5 days) a veggie (green beans, lima beans, brocholi, carrots-normally what's ever left over in the frig from dinner thoughout the week) and a fruit (small serving of apple sauce, tangerian organes, regular organes, apples without the skin, etc). Juice to drink
Supper: A meat, a pasta/noodles and a veggie. With another glass of milk.
Snacks: Are varied through the day. Sometimes he gets a gatorade to drink, most the time it's water. He gets cookies for snacks. We put them in plastic bags when we buy them with a few cookies...he likes the animals crackers with icing on them so he gets about 10 of those for a snack. We keep jello, pudding, yogurt and apple sauce in the frig for eating at any times. He still has his candy just sitting in his room from the easter bunny. He takes a bite of it once or twice a week.
I would suggest that if you are drawn to the not so healthy food for snacks and dinner then take them out of the house. Don't have as many in the house and stock it with healthy food and you won't eat it as much. When eating out, we have my son eat healthy foods first and order things like fries as extra or dessert once he eats his dinner.
I'm not sure if this helps you or not any. I wish you the best of luck!



answers from Youngstown on

I read all the ideas that you were given, and thought I would add a few too. I have 2 small children, like one mom said peanut butter/ jelly sandwiches, I give those to my kids too, when they are hungry during meals (better then a bag of chips), also you might want to try graham crackers with peanut butter, celery with peanut butter or cream cheese ( my kids love them), for something sweet but healthy I give my children strawberry, banana crepes. You can buy crepe shells at Giant Eagle. I make instant vanilla pudding i lay the crepe flat on the plate, and put about 2 tablespoons vanilla pudding on it, then i vut up a half banana and put on top, I fold the crepe, and on top I put frozen strawberries in syrup (found in freezer sec), and whip cream. The bananas and pudding are healthy ( a serv of fruit, milk), crepe only has about 25 calories per crepe. And it gives them something sweet instead of candy. I try to not give my children candy at all whenever possible, My kids eat alot of apples, bananas, and oranges. Now with summer they have been eating watermelon. Also as a "snack" in between meals I have gotten my kids accustom to eating salads ( usually let, tom, cheese).. but its filling and healthy. My children also love cut up cucumbers, toms with cottage cheese.



answers from Dayton on

Try www.kraftfoods.com. They have a healthy living section.



answers from Cleveland on

my step daughter was terribly overweight when i fisrst came into the picture 69 lbs at 4 1/2 years old or the weight of the average 8 year old. it scared me terribly, and she still has problems beause of how heavy she was even almost 2 years later. So it's great that you want to make a change and get your whole family eating healthier meals. keep in mind though that you don't want to put a child on a diet, and part of your weight is genetic some ppl will just never be skinny. if your son is already active then you ahve to look at what is really going on, watch portions, even for an adult a serving of chicken is the size of a deck of cards, when was the last time you got a chicken breast that small?
with my daughter she gets breakfast, anything from a piece of fruit and a bowl of cereal to a waffle with peanut butter or even pancakes, she now gets a morning snack and lunch at school but again i stick with string cheese, fruit snacks, pudding, yogurt, granola bars, raisins, the cheese crackers, or even one or two cookies, lunch is typical kid food mac and cheese and hot dogs or chicken nuggets the key is to keep the portions small and give them a fruit and veggie as well it also helps get tehm to eat when they see some things that they like, but again keep the portions small one hot dog and a half cup or less mac and cheese and if they want seconds make them have more fruit or more veggies so they fill up on teh good stuff, around here we still have an afternoon snack as well of basically the smae choices and then dinner, which we do pretty typical american meals meat and potato and fruit and veggie and maybe bread, but we eat very little red meat and I fry nothing, and the kids get a snack before bed as well. my step daughter is now a happy healthy 49 pounds, still a little heavy but i can finally buy her clothes and she can keep up with the other kids and to tell you the truth she hasn't lost a pound in months, she lost all that weight in the first 6 months(her doctors were flipping out, but she was really eating that badly before) and she still gets 3 snacks a day so she didn't really complain about the change to much. hope this helps. here's a site that goes over what is a portion and how many servings children need of each food group every day. http://www.kidshealth.org/parent/nutrition_fit/nutrition/...



answers from Terre Haute on

Our family is also into snacking so here are some things I tried....I but baked chips the kids love em...for those sweet tooths I get the fat free or sugar free jello pudding and the sugar free jello, it is great with some cool whip and they don't realize it is actually good for them. I also buy lots of fresh fruit and incorporate that into our dinners as almost a side dish and they love it. hope this helps and good luck

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